The free WSAVA program helps address an increasingly challenging working environment for companion animal veterinary professionals.
A new Certificate in Professional Development and Personal Wellness is being launched by the World Small Animal Veterinary Association (WSAVA) with support from Hill’s Pet Nutrition. It will be available later this year, free of charge to members of WSAVA member associations.
Announced during Mental Health Awareness Month, the certificate program is scheduled to be launched at the WSAVA Congress in September with the goal of helping to address an increasingly challenging working environment for companion animal veterinary professionals, according to the organization.
Through an online course, learners will receive help creating a career development roadmap and developing strategies to safeguard their wellbeing. Content for the WSAVA Certificate in Professional Development and Personal Wellness will be delivered via video lectures from experts in veterinary professional development, supported by case studies, a downloadable workbook, space for reflection, and links to further resources.
As they work through the modules, learners will explore different ways to learn new skills linked to personal goals, create new habits, and track their progress. Engagement with the course will be assessed by quizzes at the end of each module. The content has been designed to be accessible for those with neurodiversity and is underpinned by the principles of wellbeing and self-care as set out in the WSAVA’s first Global Guidelines on Professional Wellbeing, which is scheduled to be launched at 2023 WSAVA Congress, September 27-29, in Lisbon, Portugal.
The Certificate in Professional Development and Personal Wellbeing is the latest in a series of WSAVA qualifications, based on its Global Guidelines. Long-time industry partner, Hill’s Pet Nutrition has also supported the WSAVA Professional Wellness Group since it was founded.
Jolle Kirpensteijn, DVM, PhD, DACVS, ECVS, global chief veterinary officer for Hill's Pet Nutrition, thanked the WSAVA for the opportunity to collaborate on providing free resources and tools to veterinary professionals in support of mental wellbeing. “Since our inception, Hill’s has supported the veterinary profession. As we celebrate our 75th anniversary this year, we’re proud to be involved in a new way to support the profession as mental health is one of the most pressing issues facing the industry we love so much,” said Kirpensteijn, in the release.
In a statement, said WSAVA President Ellen van Nierop, a Dutch veterinarian who now practices in Ecuador, noted that demands of the veterinary profession are exacerbated by multiple factors such as staff shortages, barriers to accessing veterinary medicines, and the COVID-19 pandemic, that are adversely affecting the wellbeing and physical health of many veterinary professionals. Combined, she said, these factors are causing unacceptable levels of stress and burnout.
“In response, [the WSAVA is] providing evidence-based resources and tools for our member associations to help them counter the problems that so many of their members face. The new WSAVA Global Guidelines on Professional Wellbeing, created by our Professional Wellness Group for launch at WSAVA 2023 are the first step. However, in developing this new Certificate in Professional Development and Personal Wellness, we are going one step further by offering our members a practical, structured learning experience and an opportunity to build a roadmap for success, both at work and in their personal lives,” van Nierop said, in the release. “The launch of this WSAVA Certificate is an exciting moment for us and we thank Hill’s Pet Nutrition for its long-standing commitment to veterinary wellbeing,” she added.
The WSAVA Certificate in Professional Development and Personal Wellness course is being submitted for RACE accreditation. Interest in the Certificate can be registered through the WSAVA website.
Global First as WSAVA and Hill’s Pet Nutrition Launch Certificate in Professional Development and Personal Wellbeing. News release. World Small Animal Veterinary Association. May 24, 2023. Accessed May 25, 2023. https://wsava.org/wp-content/uploads/2023/05/Global-First-for-WSAVA-with-Launch-of-Certificate-in-Professional-Development-and-Personal-Wellbeing.pdf